Stackhouse Cracks Me Up

kinnon —  February 10, 2009 — 2 Comments

I almost woke Imbi up by laughing while reading John Stackhouse’s critique of Chris Tomlin’s writing,

I don’t know Chris Tomlin personally. I expect he’s a nice man and a devoted Christian. So please be clear that I’m not attacking his sincerity or his love of Jesus or anything else I can’t possibly judge.

What the evidence shows, however, is that he is a bad lyricist.

The man either doesn’t care about rhyming and settles for the merest assonance, or he lacks the skill or patience to actually craft rhymes. And rhyming is a pretty basic part of the pop genre in which he writes, not some exotic quality of songwriting I am unreasonably demanding of him. He also has no strong grasp of Scripture and particularly of the metaphors and allusions he uses.

My suspicion, in fact, is that these songs “come to him” and he then records them with little or no alteration. Surely he can’t be crafting them with the diligence of a serious poet. For if these are the best he can do after working and reworking them, he simply needs to get someone else to write the words. They’re just that bad.

Personally, I think Tomlin just needs more cowbell.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Stackhouse Cracks Me Up

  1. I find the criticism ironic. Compared to most praise lyrics, the fact that Tomlin sings to a God recognizable as the Christian one, using words at least occasionally more substantial than “duhhhhhhhhhh,” places him a cut above.

  2. Doof,
    A cut above what? JIMB songs?

    And really. Don’t you think just about any Christian worship ditty would be improved with more cowbell?


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